Recently retired police lieutenant returns to department

Some raise questions over why MPD didn’t promote a current officer

Police Chief John Pelletier (left) shakes hands with Lt. Jamie Winfrey, who returned to the Maui Police Department after recently retiring. — MPD photo

A Maui Police Department lieutenant who retired more than eight months ago has been rehired and is being assigned to be acting captain of the Molokai Patrol Division.

In a news release this week, police said Lt. Jamie Winfrey was back on the job Monday.

“After serving the Maui Police Department for 26 years, we are grateful for her return and desire to serve the community,” the news release said.

Since January, a police sergeant had been serving as acting lieutenant for the Molokai district.

Asked about the rehiring at a Maui Police Commission meeting last month, Police Chief John Pelletier said, “She had fired off an email requesting to come back. There’s also members of the community that had requested for her to come back.”

Commissioner Emmett Rodrigues questioned why a current officer wasn’t promoted to fill the position and whether the move would lower morale in the department.

“Couldn’t you promote from within?” Rodrigues asked. “You don’t have people qualified?”

“Why wouldn’t we take somebody that’s qualified within the contract?” Pelletier said. “It seems like it’s awfully one-sided to say that this particular person can’t come back.”

According to police, MPD and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers have a reemployment policy that allows former officers to return within three years of the date they leave the department.

Sgt. Nick Krau, Maui chapter chairperson of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, said it was the first time in his 22 years with MPD that he’s heard of the department hiring back an officer who retired and having the officer return at the same rank held at retirement.

“We are disappointed that rather than promoting any of the six qualified sergeants currently assigned to Molokai or any of the eight sergeants currently on the promotion list, the department chose to bring someone out of retirement to fill a position that has been vacant for more than eight months,” Krau said. “We have talented, capable sergeants who want to take a larger leadership role in our department, who now are getting the message that MPD leadership does not think they are up to the task. That’s just not right.”

He said the department hasn’t promoted anyone to lieutenant for nearly 15 months.

“The lack of promotional opportunities and upward movement has a devastating impact on the morale of our officers and negatively affects our ability to retain and recruit qualified officers,” Krau said.

Police said Winfrey, who retired Sept. 1, will have to complete an abbreviated training program. Former officers who have been gone from the department for more than three years are required to complete the entire recruit training program, police said.

“MPD has also received inquiries from other former MPD sworn personnel wanting to return to the department,” police said.


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